Scientific Name: Eleutherococcus senticos
Common Names: Eleuthero root, Siberian ginseng, Ci Wu Jia, devil's bush, E. senticosus, Russian root, shigoka, taiga, thorny pepperbush, touch-me-not, wild pepper, Ussurian thorny pepperbush, taiga root.
Parts used: Root and rhizome
Active Compounds: Eleutherosides, lignans, coumarin derivatives, phenolics, polysaccharides, phenylpropanoids, and sugars.
Of Eleuthero an ancient poem from Zhongguo proclaims, "keep your virgin face younger, and prolong your life for ever and ever."
In the Soviet Union testing of Eleuthero began in the 1950s and continues today. Eleuthero is a member of the Araliaceae or Ginseng family. It is a spiny, deciduous shrub from northeast Asia with large populations occurring in Siberia. The name is from the Greek words, eleutheros:free and kokkos:seed. In reference to its bristly stem its Latin name is senticosus:full of thorns.
It has therapeutic uses similar to that of Panax, although it is not of the same genus. Scientific literature from China often reflects its former Latin binomial: Acanthopanax senticosus.
As an adaptogen it is stimulative, improving cellular immunity and increasing T-cell production. Chronic stress depletes the adrenals, endocrine system, nervous system and others bodily systems. Affected beneficially are immunity, skin, vision, glaucoma, myopia, heart and respiratory systems, cognitive function, energy levels and attitudinal resilience. Adaptogens provide increased resistance to the predictable effects of numerous stressors, including voluntary and involuntary poor dietary practices.
Eleuthero reduces the depletion of stress-reducing hormones, hormones which can counter the body's response to difficult situations: the adrenal glands react by releasing adrenaline and corticosteroids, this causes nervous exhaustion or physical fatigue.
Extensive studies in Russia found Eleuthero to counter effects from contamination and exposure to a variey of chemicals (including radiation.) It was found to improve vision, hearing, and to increase endurance including improving the ability to exercise. Test groups responded with marked reductions in susceptability to disease, including flu and bronchitis. It also provided enhanced recuperative response.
It is used to provide immunoprotection against mammary gland, stomach, oral and ovarian carcinomas, and melanoma. Eleuthero is not recommened for treating fever or acute infections.
Eleuthero has been shown to provides reductions in blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. It is reported that diabetics should avoid using large amounts of Eleuthero because it can lower blood sugar levels, potentially resulting in a hypoglycemic reaction (lowered blood sugar).
A shrub growing to between 3 and 10 ft. high, Eleuthero's long branches attach leaf to stem. Branch and stem are thickly covered with diminutive, pale, downward pointing bristles. Leaf is petioled in a compound palmate configuration of 5 leaflet groupings, elliptic with fine serrations at the margins. They have scattered, minute spinules along the veins. Flowers, yellow or violet, have a central umbel and 5 stigma lobes. They grow in umbrella-shape clusters, producing round, black berries. Root is brownish, wrinkled, and twisted.
The plant's origin is believed to be of the Taiga region of the Far East (southeastern parts of Russia, northern China, Korea, and Japan.) Both root and the rhizome (underground stem) are used medicinally.
Dosage: Taken as a decoction, an infusion, or as powder.
Adult Dosage: Encapsulated powder: 1 gm, taken 2-3 x day, for 7 weeks. Discontinue for 2 weeks. Resume in the previous dosage cycle. Taking eleuthero continuously for more than 2 months is not recommended.
Dried root: The recommended dose is 500 to 3,000 milligrams of dried root daily (taken in tea, or in capsules).
Tincture: (herb and alcohol; or herb, alcohol, and water), one teaspoon three times per day.
For some, it may be wise to cease ingestion within 7 hours of bedtime in order to avoid insomnia.
Safe when used as directed. Individuals with heart disease who take eleuthero may experience a rapid heartbeat or high blood pressure.
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